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What is Excision? – Understand the Land “Title” before Buying !

what is excision when buying land

To help you perfectly understand what excision means, we have to go back in time.

Some decades ago, whenever the Federal government or a state government needs a piece of land, they’d often have to pay for it.

But after a while, the federal government [under the administration of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo] felt it’s nonsensical to pay people for land since the government is working in the best interest of these people. And this belief promoted the federal government to enact a law which makes the country’s governments the owners of all lands in the country (land use act of 1978).

When the law was enacted, the federal government of the country became the owner of lands in the Federal Capital Territory [FCT]. And as for the state governments, they became the owners of the lands in their respective states.


When the law was enacted, it wasn’t created to punish people. Since the government can’t possibly use all parcels of land in the country, the government felt it would be a good idea to give out unused lands back to the people. And one of the ways created, to collect a piece of land from the government, is known as Excision.

You should, however, understand that not all lands can be excised.

The only type of lands that can be excised is the type called “Global acquisition”. But what does global acquisition mean? Well, to help understand what it means, we might have to look at how lands are classified at the uppermost level [root level].


At the uppermost level, all pieces of land can be classified as either free land or acquired land.

Acquired lands are those lands the government has an interest in, while free lands are those the government doesn’t have an interest in.

The government allows entities [people, group of people, organizations, etc] to use free lands. But to use a free land, with rest of mind, you’d need to be issued a legal document called C of O.

However, as for acquired lands, acquired lands can further be classified into two:

Committed acquisition and General/Global acquisition.

Committed acquisition refers to acquired lands the government has decided to use for something.

Global acquisition, on the other hand, refers to those acquired lands the government doesn’t need for anything, at the moment, even though it has an interest in them.


In short,

The kind of lands the government releases for excision, are acquired lands the government currently has no plans for.

It is also important to state that whenever land is excised, the excision is recorded in a book called Gazette. In other words, you may come across people who use “Gazetted Land” to refer to an excised land.


Who can request an Excision?

Basically, any entity [person, group of people, community, organization] can request for excision. But you should note that not all excision requests are honoured. For instance, if you’re just a single person requesting a very large expanse of land, it is unlikely the land would be given to you.


if the entity requesting the land is a community, they stand a better chance of being given the land.


Excision Process

The excision of land starts with submitting an official excision request, to the Technical Committee on Excision of the state. The excision request is expected to be drafted by a lawyer who has an understanding of the process.

After the request is received, the Technical Committee on Excision looks into it and tries to determine if the request should be granted or not.

The request then gets submitted to the governor of the state, with the Technical Committee on Excision also giving their recommendation, on whether the request should be granted or not.

To help give an idea of what would be taken into consideration by the Technical Committee on Excision, the following are entities that make up the committee:


  • Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development;
  • Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development;
  • Office of the State Surveyor – General;
  • New Towns Development Authority;
  • Ministry of the Environment;
  • Ministry of Agriculture;
  • Ministry of Justice;
  • Lands Bureau.

How long does Excision generally take?

It is very difficult to state how long excisions generally take.

But what I can say is: with good funding and connections, an excision should take between 4 and 8 years. However, it isn’t impossible to see an excision take a lesser period, but that isn’t very common.

Excision vs C of O

Excision, as I’ve already explained, is the giving out of an acquired land [global acquisitions only], to an entity.

But as for C of O, C of O is a legal document that gives ownership of a free piece of land to an entity.

Also, while excision lasts forever, C of O lasts for only 99 years. After the 99 years, the person issued the C of O might be allowed to renew their C of O.


An excised land [a gazetted land] can not be issued a C of O. And the reason for this is that an excised land doesn’t need to be issued a C of O. An excised land is just as good as that having a C of O. In other words, it’s safe to buy both an excised land and a C of O land.

Buying an Excised land

While it’s possible to buy an excised land, the state Governor needs to consent to the transaction, for you to be legally considered the new owner of the land. If you do not seek the Governor’s consent, over the purchase of land, you risk losing the land, even if you have proof of payment.

Excision in process

Excision in process, as the name implies, simply means the excision of land is ongoing.


This doesn’t mean the excision of the land is guaranteed. The excision may fail or succeed, so “Excision in Process” isn’t a guarantee for anything.

Is it safe to buy a land tagged “Excision in Process”?

No, it’s not 100 per cent safe.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid lands tagged “Excision in Process”.

Lands given this name are often sold at relatively low prices. In other words, if you buy land before its excision succeeds, by the time it has final approval, the price of that land would have grown incredibly high.

In short, buying excised land is risky. But if it succeeds, the benefit is often massive. So it basically boils down to whether you’re willing to take the risk or not.


  1. Adeoye Idowu February 6, 2021
  2. Bethia Idoko July 22, 2021

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